Pledge to tackle teacher re­cruit­ment prob­lems

Coun­cil is ‘work­ing with head­teach­ers to bet­ter un­der­stand dif­fi­cul­ties’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by Camilla Good­man camilla.good­man@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @Camil­la_Good­man

ED­U­CA­TION bosses at Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil say they are mak­ing stren­u­ous ef­forts to sup­port lo­cal schools in the wake of the na­tional dif­fi­culty in re­cruit­ing teach­ers.

The coun­cil’s cabi­net mem­ber for ed­u­ca­tion and skills Zahir Mo­hammed said: “The County Coun­cil is cur­rently work­ing closely with head­teach­ers to bet­ter un­der­stand the chal­lenges school lead­ers are fac­ing.

“We want to find lo­cal so­lu­tions that build on ex­ist­ing good prac­tice, as well as learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence of other lo­cal author­i­ties.”

The coun­cil said it is also fo­cus­ing on help­ing to im­prove re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion as heads plan for a pre­dicted sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in school places in Bucks over the next few years.

Mr Mo­hammed added: “This is a mas­sive chal­lenge be­cause the num­ber of classes will grow sub­stan­tially over the next few years.

“How­ever, the good news for Buck­ing­hamshire is that we have al­ready taken steps to ad­dress this cru­cial is­sue, and we have plans in place to do a lot more.

“We are work­ing with schools to do as much as we pos­si­bly can to ad­dress this.”

Mr Mo­hammed said a num­ber of ini­tia­tives have al­ready been set in mo­tion by both the coun­cil and schools in the county.

These in­clude an in­duc­tion pro­gramme for new head­teach­ers, high­qual­ity pro­fes­sional sup­port for heads act­ing as men­tors, schol­ar­ships for mid­dle and se­nior leader can­di­dates in pri­mary schools and the for­ma­tion of con­sor­tiums of teach­ing schools.

The coun­cil is also set­ting up new re­cruit­ment web­pages and is work­ing with schools to im­prove re­cruit­ment ad­verts.

Mr Mo­hammed added: “Plans for the fu­ture in­clude the cre­ation of a strong pipe­line of can­di­dates.

“This will be done by reg­u­larly and ef­fec­tively up­dat­ing the coun­cil’s re­cruit­ment web­site, cre­at­ing a tal­ent pool of can­di­dates, forg­ing stronger links with in­dus­try, sup­port­ing our teach­ers in the class­room and re­ally fo­cus­ing on suc­ces­sion plan­ning.”

In ad­di­tion, the coun­cil and schools will work on im­prov­ing re­cruit­ment of high-cal­i­bre staff by look­ing at ben­e­fits pack­ages and schools will be en­cour­aged to share good prac­tice around work­load chal­lenges.

Mr Mo­hammed, who stressed that the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in the county is cur­rently work­ing ex­tremely well, said: “We are very mind­ful of the need to im­prove re­ten­tion by look­ing at what we can do to re­tain and de­velop staff.

“Buck­ing­hamshire has an ex­cel­lent record of high aca­demic achieve­ments – 90 per cent of schools at the end of June 2016 had a good or out­stand­ing Of­sted re­port.

“We have done re­ally well, and with a bit of for­ward plan­ning and co­or­di­na­tion be­tween schools and the coun­cil, there is no rea­son this suc­cess story can­not con­tinue, even with the surge in the num­ber of pupil places re­quired.”

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